A Night in the Dunes

Medano Creek, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, clouds

Medano Twilight : Prints Available

Spooky clouds hang over Medano Creek and the Great Sand Dunes after sunset. 

On Monday I headed to the Great Sand Dunes for a quick overnighter. I hiked in at about 10pm, slept on a dune for about 4 hours, then woke up around 3:30am to shoot the setting (nearly full) moon, followed by sunrise.

I had a blast out there with the camera… so much fun! And the hike out with Pink Floyd Meddle playing on my iPod was pretty groovy too! Here are some photos from the trip.

Continue reading “A Night in the Dunes”

Potosi

Climbing up Potosi's couloir, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Yesterday morning Ann Driggers and I set off to hike and ski the big north couloir on Potosi Peak – one of the most aesthetic couloirs in the San Juans, and a line that has been high on my to-do list for many years. With an ample June snowpack, sunny weather, and freezing temps at night, this was a perfect opportunity to get it done! Here is Ann climbing up the steep couloir. Continue reading “Potosi”

Smoky Ski

Skiing in forest fire smoke - San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Went up for a little ski tour this morning above Ouray, and was surprised to find the mountains choked with forest fire smoke (on an otherwise blue sky day). A quick Google news search shows that a wildfire is raging in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, which must be where all the smoke blew in from.

Dog on summit

A rare indigenous San Juan alpine wolf.

Double Shot

Skinning up a steep slope in the San Juans, Colorado

Skinning up a steep slope, looking at what would be our second descent route of the day.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Upon arriving at the summit, our north face descent route still needed some time to soften. Instead of waiting around up there, we decided to do a quick run down the east face, which was nice and soft already.

Skiing near Silverton in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Skier: Ann Driggers. The town of Silverton is located in the valley in the distance.

Skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Having skinned back up the east face, the big north face was now good to go, and so we ended up scoring two nice corn lines today, the last day of May! See some more pics on Ann’s blog.

Frozen Smoothie

Skinning a high ridge in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Skinning up a high ridgeline in the San Juans this morning.

Spring skiing in the San Juans, Colorado, May

Skier: Chris Cover. The mountains have started getting some sun the last couple days, and the snow is quickly transitioning from powder to corn. Today our slope was well frozen, and the clouds and chilly winds were keeping it that way. So, unfortunately we weren’t able to ski this beauty with the soft conditions I was hoping for, but at least the snow was perfectly smooth so it was still a fun descent.

Cream Cheese Powder

Hiking into the clouds, Colorado

With heaps of snow and hardly anybody out skiing these days, the “low hanging fruit” abounds in the San Juans. Today we went up the same peak I’ve gone up 2 of the last 3 days. Normally these are the routes we do in the wintertime, so it feels a bit novel to be riding these in late May!

Backcountry skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Ninja skier: Paul McElrea.

Backcountry skiing in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Perfect cream cheese powder, great for terminal velocity carving.